Warm weather could cause ice jams

Warm weather could cause ice jams

A January thaw accompanied by rain is not the weather forecast that the Warren County Office of Emergency Services wanted to hear. Rivers and streams could see fast, significant rises in the vicinity of any ice jams.

Ice jams become temporary dams, blocking the flow of water downstream, potentially causing flooding.

More than an inch of rain has already fallen in Upstate New York, western Pennsylvania, southeastern OH and parts of West Virginia which combined with the melting snow has resulted in numerous reports of flooding, including river flooding and ice jams. "It was a good 10, 15 feet heaves of ice coming up", said Timothy Irish, North Lawrence homeowner. "We haven't had this for several years, but we've had this many times".

By midday Saturday, the rain that has fallen should turn to ice, Goodwin added. This is expected to cause localized flooding with water covered roads, especially in low lying and poor drainage areas.

Homeowners said they could hear the ice jamming up in the Deer River.

Glen Gosnell, Washington County's director of public safety, said his office has been monitoring the Mettawee River and Batten Kill, but hadn't heard of any potential problem spots.

At these levels, flooding is expected along the St. Clair River.

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"We haven't heard of any concerns so far", he said.

They say don't go out onto the ice and keep your distance from the river due to risk of large amounts of ice, moving quickly. Given the much colder air in place, conditions will remain favorable for ice blockages through Sunday.

Much of the region will see a wide variety of weather over the next couple of days as a major storm moves into the Northeast.

A flood watch will be in effect for the southern and midcoast areas from Friday afternoon though Saturday morning.

The snow that has been piled high since the "bomb cyclone" likely will be washed away by the rain and melted by mild temperatures forecast through Saturday.

But the cold spell won't be as prolonged nor as intense as the record-breaking two-week stretch of frigid below-zero nights, single-digit daytime highs and fierce wind chills that persisted from Christmas Day through early this week.

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